According to research, every second that your web page takes to load results in:
- A 7% loss in conversion
- 11% Fewer page views in a session
- 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
What does this mean for me?
By conversion, we mean a positive interaction by a visitor on your website. On a shop, this is easily recognised as the purchase of a product. However, a conversion may be something else entirely, and is dependant on the purpose of your website. A conversion may be a newsletter sign up, a registration for an account or a comment on a blog.
If your website is a little sluggish, the chances of that successful interaction diminish. Think of it like customer service. If you went into a shop, found a product you liked but were then made to hang around for an assistant to complete the purchase, you wouldn’t be impressed. If you were made to continue to wait, you would get increasingly frustrated and, probably, leave after a given time period.
Online, this whole process is accelerated. You have a matter of seconds to engage your audience and put your proposition in front of them. Unlike in the real-world, there are probably many other companies offering similar products or services to you, but rather than requiring a trip to a nearby town or city, they are a couple of clicks away. That is why once you’ve done the hard part of getting people to your website, you have got to capitalise on it. The first step in doing so is ensuring that your website loads quickly.
But my website is fast alreadyTo you, perhaps, but is it to everybody else? It is often easy to forget – especially for those blessed with high-speed fibre or 4G connections – that not everybody has the same bandwidth and hence experience as you.
High-resolution images can have great impact, but they must have a purpose, and if you’re going to make people download them, you at least need to have optimised them so at the very least they aren’t downloading data they don’t need.
A great way to look at your website’s speed objectively is to use a tool such as Google PageSpeed or Pingdom Speed Test. Both of these tools will show you how well your website is performing, and give you some valuable information on what could be done to further improve it.
OK, so perhaps there are one or two things – what can I do?
Before anything else, make sure you have a backup of your website and that you’re able to restore it if necessary.
As we advise to any WordPress site owner for speed and security, deactivate any unused plugins. Many run on every page load, so unless they are adding important functionality, lose them. If you are never going to use them again, remove them completely – the same goes for themes. Having old code hanging around is asking for trouble.Optimising images comes next on the list. Many themes make use of full-width or even full-screen images to capture the imagination of your visitors. They look great, but high-resolution images straight off of your DSLR or iPhone 7 contain a lot of additional data. This can be removed either with photo-editing software, or running them through a third-party service such as NitroSmush. If you are used to editing your own photos, actually check the difference between quality settings – you can often knock them down a couple of notches without noticing the difference. Trust me, your visitors will appreciate it.
These are just a few tips for increasing the speed of your WordPress website. However, all of this seems a bit intimidating – or you just have better things to be doing with your time, like running your business – get in touch and let us do the hard work for you.